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2011 Review Gillhams Fishing Resorts Krabi Thailand

For those of you who follow these reports and our monthly newsletters, I would like to point out that 2011 is the last year we will close in May. The weather patterns have changed and the intense heat we used to suffer in May no longer happens, so from 2012 we will no longer close in May. Gillhams will now be open all year with the only non-fishing day being Christmas day.

January: 329 fish of 20 species…
This month the fishing was very slow; conditions seemed perfect, but the fish had other ideas. No excuses from us; it’s just as disappointing when the lake is off form, as we want everyone to catch lots of fish, but that’s why it’s called ‘fishing’ and not ‘catching’!
The highlight of the month had nothing to do with catching, and more to do with not fishing… Regular visitor and all-round nice guy Kevin Hudson should have been fishing at 7am as usual, but when at 2pm he hadn’t appeared we had to go and investigate. Fearing poor Kevin had died, we looked in his room and heard distant whimpers from the bathroom. Kevin had gone for a shower at 6.30am and locked the connecting door on his way in, so spent five hours locked in the bathroom!

Luke Clark narrowly missed his chance of fame with a 60lb Amazon red tail catfish that missed the IGFA junior record by an agonizing 2lbs.
Stretton Honour made another visit and upped his Mekong catfish PB to 180lb.

February: 381 fish of 21 species…
This month started off slow as did last month, but things picked up later. My old mate John Bevan joined us, and as it was the first time I had seen John for 18 years we had a lot of catching up to do. Many late nights and consuming vast amounts of alcohol took their toll, and after three weeks of hangovers I was glad to see the back of the old sod! Between drinking and exaggerating fish captures, Bevo caught some good fish with the highlight of his trip being a 300lb-plus arapaima.

Matt Tong came to Gillhams on a day ticket and exceeded his wildest dreams with two fish over the magic ton. First he had a 120lb Mekong catfish and in the closing minutes landed a cracking arapaima of 280lb. It’s always nice to see an angler on a day ticket achieve his dreams in limited time, and it just goes to show that if you only have one spare day you still have a good chance.
Another angler who could only fit in a day’s fishing during his holiday was Jake Bojayer, an Australian chef who has made appearances on TV. Amongst other fish, during his day, Jake landed his dream in the shape of a 340lb arapaima, once again proving that you can catch a dream fish on a day trip.

March: 422 fish of 23 species…
This month was to see the worst floods in the history of Krabi. February is normally one of our dry months, but the world’s weather is changing. We only had minor problems at Gillhams due to the flood defenses being designed to cope with the worst the weather can throw at us. The surrounding areas suffered serious flooding and widespread problems, but our clients continued their holiday without a problem, and although the fishing was slow, the fish carried on feeding.

We had our first Rita Sacerdotum caught this month; they are a very rare catfish species. The fish was caught by John Portman, and although small at 12lb, he is only one of a very select few to land this rare fish.
Mike and Andrea Hemple from Germany visited us this month landing 34 fish between them, topped by a cracking ripsaw catfish of 35lb.

April: 322 fish of 22 species…
Once the dirty water from last month’s floods cleared, the arapaima went on a feeding frenzy with 11 fish landed in one day alone. The biggest arapaima landed was a stunning fish of 340lb.

Nick Peat landed his 100th fish in the last hour of his last day, and it was a species he had been after the whole trip. A nice black pacu capped off what was an incredible trip for Nick, and in all he banked 100 fish of 15 species! Nick ended up catching 57 redtails to 60lb, Asian redtails, sorubim, Siamese carp to 65lb, tambaqui, alligator gar, a jao catfish, ripsaw cats to 15lb, spotted and giant featherback, shovelnose tiger catfish to 15lb, a wallago attu, the first yellow catfish out of the lake, and two arapaima. The second arapaima Nick landed was a very special fish, and one that will take some beating. Using his famous Norfolk herring bait he hooked a beast, and after a hard 20-minute fight, the fish finally obliged and went into the cage where we could have a good look at all 340lbs of it.
Once again day ticket anglers did well, showing that if the fish gods allow Gillhams is a top day ticket venue! James and John Sheldrick worked hard during their day’s fishing and reaped the rewards. James landed four Siamese carp totaling over 160lbs plus the biggest bighead carp caught this month. John did equally well, catching two Siamese carp, two Mekong catfish to 180lb and a 180lb arapaima. The five fish John banked weighed more than 550 pounds!

This was to be the last time Gillhams closes in May; from now on the lake remains open every day. We used to close because of hot conditions, but as the climate around the world changes we no longer get these prolonged periods of temperatures in excess of 48C (120F). For the last two years we only get odd days when temperatures get close to these, hence the decision to remain open.

As we were closed, Sean and I made the annual pilgrimage to Australia, to Jarbu Lodge, Croker Island near Darwin, owned and ran by our good friend Rob Hunt and his lovely partner Martina. Check out this amazing place at Accompanying us this year were two friends and regular visitors to Gillhams, Mike Bailey and John Duffy. Throughout the week we amassed around 300 fish between us of aproximately 30 species.

We also had a nice family holiday, taking Jack to Hong Kong Disney for his birthday. Mind you it was debatable who enjoyed it the most, as Becky and Sean were more excited than little Jack!

June: 804 fish of 35 species…
June got off to a flying start with regular visitor to Gillhams, Rob Snowden, making another return to us this month, landing an impressive haul of 110 fish of 21 species in 16 days to complete his best ever trip here. Included in his haul was a cracking 28lb rohu and the first golden gourami landed at Gillhams – see June 2011 newsletter for some of Rob’s cracking fish.

Another regular to pay us a visit, and the guy who sorts out many of our clients flights, was Aaron Hyde of Kenwood Travel (see flights section of our website). Among Aaron’s haul of fish was the second Rita Sacerdotum landed at Gillhams. These fish, which can achieve 100lb-plus, are one of the rarest freshwater fish in the world.
Jamie Anderson came with his mum and dad for a 21st birthday present, and the icing on Jamie’s cake came in the shape of a 340lb arapaima.

July: 641 fish of 31 species…

This month once again started with plenty of rain. In fact 2011 was the wettest year on record for Thailand. Our fish respond to rain, so once again the fishing was good. Conditions were so good that even I got the rods out, and over four days, I landed 38 Siamese carp with four over 70lbs, the best two weighing in at 79lb and 78lb. I also had six over 60lb, nine over 50lb, 11 over 40lb, six over 30lb and only two at 20lb. I also landed a stunning Julian’s golden prize carp of 28lb. These beautiful members of the carp family must surely be the prettiest carp in the world. Also in the catch were 23 Amazon red tail catfish, one Asian red tail catfish, seven black pacu and one big head carp for a total of 71 fish.

Keith Frankzak made his long awaited return, and among his impressive haul of fish he landed a giant stingray of 110lb. This fish came in the last minute of a day, when we were all going out to a local restaurant. The hour-long fight resulted in the whole resort being an hour late for the meal, but everyone agreed it was worth the wait to see Keith land the beast.
Gillhams’ onsite resident, the one and only Lord Bailey, upped his species count with the first firewood catfish to be caught here. Although only a small fish, Mike was well chuffed to add yet another species in his quest to catch all 48 species cruising around our lake.

August: 709 fish of 26 species…

This month my old mate the ex-porno king and original Savay syndicate member Keith ‘The Tooth’ O’Connor made a return visit. It’s always entertaining when The Tooth is here, and as always he was accompanied by his long-suffering better half Ina. Keith is one of those guys that fishes hard, never complains, and always ends up with some good fish. Once again his target species was Siamese carp with any bonuses being welcome. During his stay he landed 30 Siamese carp to 80lb, plus 15 other fish of various species.

Our big head carp are strange fish; they can go months without being seen, and then for no apparent reason they turn up in numbers. Regular visitor Stretton Honour landed 14 amongst his catch of 40 fish of nine species during his stay, this month 24 big heads were landed up to 34lb.
Angling Direct laid on a Dave Plummer-hosted trip this month, and between the group of seven anglers they landed 198 fish of 15 species. Getting amongst the big fish was Gorden Tiffen who landed a cracking Mekong catfish of 220lb. A year ago this fish would have been a world record, but as we hold the new record at 260lb, it wasn’t to be.

September: 614 fish of 29 species…

Terry Thompson, my old fishing partner back in the UK, came for his first visit to Gillhams. Terry and I fished together in the 1980s, and although he is a great angler, big fish avoid him like the plague. It was good to see his fortunes change here as Terry landed 69 fish of 11 species with most being above his previous biggest fish; the best two fish Terry landed being a 78½lb Siamese carp and a 180lb arapaima.

Les Bamford made yet another trip to Gillhams vowing to behave. For Lez that’s impossible, but he did manage to land some good fish in short sessions between drinking us out of house and home! Now Les is always moaning that we never use his pictures, which is why we included this one of an arapaima that felt sorry for him… oh, plus a picture of how he spent most of his time!

October: 1,099 fish of 32 species…

We do get a lot of lady anglers here and generally they outfish the men, especially when it comes to big fish. I have heard many times the old pheromones excuse of why women make good anglers, and perhaps there is something in this common belief. Personally I think that in general women pay more attention to detail and listen to advice, plus they have more patience and don’t think only macho men can catch fish.
One of our regular lady visitors, Terri, is one such lady – a damned good angler and a cracking person; she has caught many big fish here. This month was no exception and despite a bad shoulder that plagued her throughout the trip, she still managed 30 fish of eight species.

Another lady angler making her first trip to Gillhams was Leslie Shury, accompanied by her husband John. This fishing-mad couple came to us via Angling Direct Holidays. Leslie stamped her authority on the fish from day one, while most days husband John had to sit back and watch her working her way through our fish list. Amongst her impressive list she landed a giant stingray of 110lb in the middle of a downpour, actually landing this fish in a time that puts most blokes to shame.
This was certainly a month for the ladies, as Bianca Toorn Vrijthoff showed when she outfished husband Ronald the Dutch dwarf! Bianca and Ronald own RTV Henglesport in Den Haag Holland; they are regular visitors here and help us at the Zwolle show as well as selling trips for us in Holland at Bianca is known for always beating Ronald at fishing as well as winning numerous dwarf throwing contests with Ronald as the dwarf! Amongst Bianca’s impressive haul, in which she beat every fish Ronald caught, was a nice 240lb arapaima.
October certainly proved the ladies can outfish the men.

November: 807 fish of 26 species…
This month Dick Top from Holland beat our old IGFA Chao Phraya catfish world record of 90lb with a magnificent fish of 121lb. Dick came for a short stay with his wife, fitting in fishing and sightseeing, but his limited fishing time was rewarded with a place in the record books.

Our new fly and lure fishing lake was finally finished and stocked with many exotic fish from around the globe. Although not a big fish water, it’s great fun with light tackle, with many species of fish between 2lb and 20lb.
Gerhard Ziehenberger, a well-known carp angler from Austria, came for four days’ fishing plus some sightseeing. The four days soon turned into some extra sessions after day trips, and Gerhard ended up with 37 fish of 11 species and a vow to return next year for a serious assault on our stocks.

December: 1,032 fish of 30 species…

What a month December was with record numbers of fish landed, especially Mekong catfish, of which 138 were caught. The number of fish caught is down to the new high protein pellet developed with a Thai company – every fish in the lake is wolfing down this new food source, which can only improve their already impressive weight gains.
Many regulars and friends turned up for Christmas, including Beverly Clifford and her brother Mick, owners of Angling Publications. In a very short trip they landed 26 fish of six species between them with six fish over the magic ton in five days of fishing. Bev certainly showed her angling skills when she landed a cracking 340lb arapaima.

Also this month our old buddy Mark Simmons finally made his long awaited appearance. Simmo is famous for growing carp with his company Heather Fisheries in the UK. Simmo’s carp are famous for growing as fat as him, but are slightly better looking! He ended up with 58 fish of seven species including arapaima to 350lb, Siamese carp to 85lb and Mekong catfish to 140lb.
Gillhams Fishing Resort ended the year in style with yet another IGFA world record; the latest addition to our world record collection was a cracking mrigal of 17½lb, adding 8lb to the old record. This fish was landed by regular visitor and family friend Eddie Grey. Eddie comes for Christmas every year plus any other trips he can squeeze in, accompanied by his non-fishing wife Lynne. He has caught so many of our various species that a new challenge was needed, and what better way than making a start on the numerous potential world records that our lake holds?
Well, that sums up another great year at Gillhams, the Thailand fishing venue that makes dreams come true. Remember if you wish to come fishing in Krabi to book early to avoid disappointment.
The 2011 yearly report for Gillhams Fishing Resorts, fishing in Krabi Thailand is set out below.

Arapaima –
2011 – 364 total, best 350lb, best months June and December – 58 fish.
2010 – 502 total, best 380lb, best month February – 90 fish.
2009 – 568 total, best 400lb, best month October – 84 fish.

Alligator gar –
2011 – 65 total, best 40lb, best month December – 15 fish.
2010 – 52 total, best 30lb, best months February and September – seven fish.
2009 – 86 total, best 25lb, best month April – 11 fish.

Amazon red tail catfish –
2011 – 2085 total, best 80lb, best month October – 294 fish.
2010 – 1,349 total, best 80lb, best month June – 208 fish.
2009 – 787 total, best 85lb, best month August – 97 fish.
Amazon spotted stingray –
2011 – Ten total, best 15lb, best month June – four fish.
Not previously stocked.
Arawana –
2011 – 48 total, best 12lb, best month November – 7 fish.
2010 – 57 total, best 9lb, best month – June – 15 fish.
2009 – 18 total, best 8lb, best month April – four fish.

Asian red tail catfish –
2011 – 469 total, best 45lb, best month December – 132 fish.
2010 – 201 total, best 40lb, best month August – 39 fish.
2009 – 107 total, best 30lb, best month December – 21 fish.

Barramundi –
2011 – Two total, best 12lb, best months January and April – one fish.
2010 – 21 total, best 15lb, best month July – 16 fish.
2009 – Five total, best 10lb, best month August – three fish.
Big head carp –
2011 – 98 total, best 34lb, best month October – 26 fish.
2010 – One total, best 15lb, best month February – one fish.
2009 – Two total, best 20lb, best month February – one fish.

Black pacu –
2011 –183 total, best 35lb, best month June 36 fish.
2010 – 257 total, best 45lb, best month February – 57 fish.
2009 – 418 total, best 50lb, best month August – 99 fish.

Black shark carp –
2011 – Six total, best 10lb, best month August – two fish.
2010 – Three total, best 10lb, best months June, September and October – one fish.
2009 – One total, best 8lb, best month August – one fish.

Chao Phraya catfish –
2011 – Five total, best 121lb (world record), best month November – two fish.
2010 – 20 total, best 90lb, best month February – seven fish.
2009 – 75 total, best 90lb 6oz (new world record!), best month August and October – ten fish.

Chinese seerfish –
2011 – 79 total, best 20lb, best month June – 17 fish.
Not previously stocked.
Firewood catfish –
2011 – Three total, best 7lb, best months June, July and September – one fish.
Not previously stocked.
Giant featherback –
2011 – 35 total, best 11lb, best months July and October – seven fish.
2010 – Seven total, best 15lb, best month December – three fish.
2009 – 13 total, best 11lb, best months March and April – three fish.
Giant freshwater stingray –
2011 – Nine total, best 120lb, best month October – four fish.
2010 – Five total, best 120lb, best months February, June, August, September and October – one fish.
2009 – Six total, best 120lb, best month January – five fish.

Giant snakehead –
2011 – 20 total, best 8lb, best month June – five fish.
2010 – Eight total, best 8lb, best month December – three fish.
2009 – Nine total, best 8lb, best month August – three fish.

Giant gourami –
2011 – Three total, best 8lb, best month June – two fish.
2010 – Three total, best 10lb, best months January, March and August – one fish.
2009 – Seven total, best 14lb, best month November – three fish.

Giant gourami (golden) –
2011 – Two total, best 6lb, best months June and November – one fish.
Not previously stocked.
Hovens carp –
2011 – 15 total, best 8lb, best months July, October and November – three fish.
2010 – Eight total, best 8lb, best month October – five fish.
2009 – 11 total, best 5lb, best month October – six fish.

Julian’s golden prize carp –
2011 – 107 total, best 37lb, best month August – 23 fish.
2010 – 69 total, best 45lb, best month February – 17 fish.
2009 – 47 total, best 30lb, best month March – nine fish.
Mekong catfish –
2011 – 501 total, best 220lb, best month December – 138 fish.
2010 – 244 total, best 260lb (world record), best month November – 55 fish.
2009 – 73 total, best 191lb (world record claim is pending), best month October – 14 fish.

Mrigal (Asian grass carp) –
2011 – 64 total, best 17lb (world record), best month December – 12 fish.
2010 – 24 total, best 13lb, best month October – seven fish.
2009 – 28 total, best 15lb, best month August – seven fish.

Nile perch –
2011 – Nine total, best 10lb, best months October and December – theee fish.
2010 – Two total, best 15lb, best months February and June – one fish.
Not previously stocked.
Piraaiba (Lau) –
2011 – Eight total, best 12lb, best month January – five fish.
2010 – Two total, best 10lb, best months October and December – one fish.
Not previously stocked.

Ripsaw catfish –
2011– 23 total, best 35lb, best month December – six fish.
2010 – Two total, best 20lb, best month November – two fish.
Not previously stocked.
Rita Sacerdotum –
2011– Five total, best 20lb, best month June – three fish.
Not previously stocked.
Rohu carp –
2011– 45 total, best 28lb, best month June – 15 fish.
2010 – 62 total, best 18lb, best month March – 13 fish.
2009 – 91 total, best 20lb, best month January – 17 fish.
Siamese carp –
2011– 2053 total, best 90lb, best months October and November – 348 fish.
2010 – 2,702 total, best 105lb, best month October – 402 fish.
2009 – 2,633 total, best 125lb, best month February – 302 fish.

Spotted featherback –
2011– 333 total, best 11lb, best month June – 55 fish.
2010 – 67 total, best 12lb, best month December – 16 fish.
2009 – 69 total, best 20lb, best month October – ten fish.

Shovel nosed tiger catfish –
2011– 111 total, best 21lb, best month June 25 fish.
2010 – 60 total, best 20lb, best months June and August – 11 fish.
2009 – 56 total, best 25lb, best month October – ten fish.

Shovel-nosed spotted sorubim –
2011– 231 total, best 35lb, best month March – 38 fish.
2010 – 227 total, best 45lb, best month January – 36 fish.
2009 – 422 total, best 50lb, best month June – 58 fish.

Striped catfish –
2011– 22 total, best 32lb, best month December – nine fish.
2010 – Seven total, best 15lb, best month June – three fish.
2009 – Four total, best 10lb, best month October – two fish.

Striped snakehead –
2011– 73 total, best 3lb, best month June – 16 fish.
2010 – 65 total, best 4lb, best months August and November – ten fish.
2009 – 74 total, best 5lb, best month January – 18 fish.

Tambaqui –
2011– 79 total, best 48lb, best month April – 23 fish.
2010 – 40 total, best 45lb, best month January – nine fish.
2009 – 15 total, best 45lb, best month December – seven fish.

Wallago attu –
2011– 32 total, best 25lb, best month December – eight fish.
2010 – 35 total, best 22lb, best month June – eight fish.
2009 – 27 total, best 24lb, best months October and December – five fish.

Wallago leeri –
2011– 49 total, best 35lb, best month October – 12 fish.
2010 – 68 total, best 110lb, best month June – ten fish.
2009 – 78 total, best 28lb, best month December – 12 fish.

Yellow catfish –
2011– Two total, best 3lb, best months April and June – one fish.
Not previously stocked.
Zungaro (Jau) –
2011– 16 total, best 10lb, best month June – five fish.
2010 – One total, best 6lb, best month December – one fish.
Not previously stocked.
Total –
2011– 7,264 fish landed of 41 species.
2010 – 6,171 fish landed of 33 species.
2009 – 5,730 fish landed of 28 species.